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05-06-2012
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Technology giant Samsung tapped three of the most prominent fashion bloggers — newest cast member of “America’s Next Top Model” Bryanboy’s Bryan Grey Yambao, Susie Bubble’s Susanna Lau and Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine — to mark the launch of its Galaxy Note smart phone tablet hybrid during New York Fashion Week in February.

“Not only could they take photos, but they could comment and sketch directly on the images and share their opinions with their followers. Consumers across the nation experienced Fashion Week in real time, [and] in a completely new and personalized way,” said Samsung Mobile’s chief marketing officer Todd Pendleton.

The bloggers were responsible for attending 40 shows over the course of the week, tweeting and uploading images on the devices.

Yet as the number of brand partnerships with bloggers grows, they bring a recurring issue to light: the journalistic integrity of bloggers.

On the one hand, bloggers want to be considered journalists but forging partnerships with leading brands and designers creates what some believe to be a conflict of interest. Bloggers argue they aren’t “traditional” journalists in the same sense that an editor at a newspaper or established magazine is — and say this is starting to give way to a fast forming, hybrid type of journalism.

For starters, the new breed of online journalism is generally transparent. Bloggers don’t pretend to be unbiased — more often than not, they’re unabashedly self-promoting. The FTC ruled in October 2009 that a post of any blogger who receives payment or accepts gifts is considered an “endorsement” of the party he or she accepted it from. The ruling went on to state that “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

This further blurs the already murky line of what a traditional blog is, compared with content in a magazine. And, like in magazines, bloggers do have lines they will not cross in terms of promoting a product.

“For the sake of maintaining integrity I won’t trade product for blog posts, but if someone sends me something, I don’t send it back,” said Man Repeller’s Medine, who receives about 2 million page views a month. “If Isabel Marant wants to pay me to blog about them, it’s basically just an awesome fee on top of work I would already be doing, not that Isabel Marant has ever paid or gifted me anything,” Medine said, firm that this is her “whole m.o.,” and there is a note on her site that clearly states this. “I know I’m not an editor at The Wall Street Journal and that’s fine. I don’t have to have an unbiased point of view. Blogging is about subjectivity.”

She went on to liken talent on the digital medium to the “new supermodels,” — not aesthetically, but because her and her contemporaries have transformed the notion of blogging into a new medium used to convey a message and product.

“Ultimately, everyone in this world is trying to make a buck, and I don’t see why bloggers would be reprimanded for trying to turn hobbies into a business,” she said. “I do consider myself a writer with integrity, and I believe in everything I put on the site.”

Case in point: paid partnerships such as a recent collaboration with e-tailer Bauble Bar, where Medine created her signature “arm parties” for sale on the site, or styling Christian Louboutin shoes in the window of Saks Fifth Avenue, were very “on brand” for Medine, and the content was cross promoted on each brand’s respective site, manrepeller.com and on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. She also maintains an affiliate partnership with Shopbop, and the e-tailer, although it doesn’t pay her in dollars, does give her a monthly gift card to Shopbop.com. The gift card amount is based on the amount of traffic and sales Medine drives to the site from manrepeller.com, which has increased significantly since she began working with the site in 2010.

On the flip side, there’s The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman, who considers himself the counter to the many bloggers jumping into branded partnerships. He is adamant about keeping his seven-year-old blog “clean,” meaning that it doesn’t contain any sponsored editorial content.

“If I work with someone like Levi’s, who wanted me to shoot something a year ago for the Curve ID jeans — they wanted something more integrated into the blog which is a content thing instead of an ad. I said no to that [and] it was a lot of money. I don’t have a problem taking money for taking pictures to put in an ad — I’m a photographer. That I have no problem with,” Schuman said, ultimately calling the situation a win-win. He wound up featuring the Levi’s ads as advertisements on Thesartorialist.com and Style.com featured the shots as part of its editorial coverage of the campaign.

A similar situation occurred with a project Schuman and blogger (as well as real life girlfriend) Garance Doré worked on with Tiffany & Co. Although the two of them declined to feature the images they photographed for the brand’s campaign on their respective blogs, they mentioned the project and were happy to have their work live on pop-up sites elsewhere.

Calling his the “first to go after advertising in a serious way,” Schuman’s blog counts Style.com as its first advertiser (the site is no longer an advertiser). To date, 75 percent of his revenue comes from this channel, with the remaining split among personal appearances, print sales, designer collaborations, the syndication of his images and book sales (his second book comes out soon, which might change this percentage by year’s end). He said he’s selective in who he deals with and there’s absolutely “no touching the content of the blog,” which even during the slowest months of May and June can see up to 12 million page views (March had close to 15 million) and average about 1.8 million unique visitors a month. For the last several months, Schuman has seen about 30 percent growth each month compared to last year, and current advertisers include Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Net-a-porter, American Apparel and Cole Haan. Schuman declines to reveal the price of an ad on thesartorialist.com.

“I don’t command a fee, I negotiate. It’s a business [just] like anyone else’s,” Schuman said of his distaste for the term “commanding a fee,” and politely declining to discuss numbers. “People get a lot more mad at bloggers for making money than they do at other artists. They get mad at us — unlike a designer who owns their own business. Somehow they don’t seem to get as mad when a designer increases their sales by a certain percent. We don’t need to tell people how much money we make. We have to be very conscious. It’s not that we’re being coy — when I talk about money people get mad.”

Although not as opposed to branded content as Schuman, Into the Gloss’ Weiss has been hesitant about featuring this variety of content in the year-and-a-half since she launched her beauty blog. Her policy is not as strict as his (she contends she can count the number of sponsored posts she’s done on one hand), but she said the blogger-brand line is one she’s tiptoed along with trepidation, until now.

Weiss counts leading brands such as Dior, L’Oréal, Bumble & bumble and Coach as advertisers on her site, while Lancôme was the site’s exclusive first advertiser. Most of Weiss’ revenue comes from ads, and she maintains she’s not under contracts with any companies as a brand ambassador.

She is about to sign with an agency — a “traditional photographer, hair, makeup artist” and non-digital agency — in order to facilitate projects outside of Into the Gloss, such as a modeling gig with Louis Vuitton earlier this month or creative directing and styling a film for Love magazine.

While the aforementioned are several examples of the leading “pure” bloggers, Derek Blasberg, editor at large of Harper’s Bazaar, V and V Man; author, and blogger at Mr Blasberg, part of the now Fairchild Fashion Media-owned NowManifest blog umbrella, embodies the new hybrid kind of online journalism from a more traditional perspective.

Blasberg’s work is not limited to the three magazines that he’s “contractually obliged” to (he’s a contributor for Garage magazine and compiles a weekly best dressed list for harpersbazaar.com). It’s enabled him to leverage his career to a point that allows him to straddle the “traditional” journalist and blogger roles.

“What’s important to me is that my blog is still fun and fabulous, but grounded in real experience as a fashion professional,” Blasberg said, counting the best part of his job as that, on one hand, he can work with long lead publications but on the other, he can go off on his own blog and “say something that’s entirely from my perspective.”

While he might interview Lady Gaga or Daphne Guinness for Harper’s Bazaar or V, he can post personal family pictures or snapshots from a night out on Mr Blasberg.

“Five years ago, if someone called me a blogger I would have probably scoffed and been offended. But things have changed and it’s a digital world now. If someone calls me a blogger today? I’m flattered and I feel relevant,” he said.
- WWD.COM

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07-06-2012
  407
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^It's interesting how much discussion that article caused. Here's a rebuttal from buzzfeed:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/fas...-from-brands-s

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I don't think the talents of these bloggers should be dismissed out of hand. The ones taking photos of themselves are doing the work of a stylist — they just happen to be styling themselves instead of models, and sometimes get really great results with far fewer resources than magazines that produce fashion shoots and have the power, time, and resources to borrow clothing directly from designers, hire makeup artists and a lighting guy, rent a photo studio, storyboard a shoot, etc. And as for blogs that publish fan posts about fashion lines, they're acting as business people who get paid to show fans stuff that's new on the market. Readers don't go to sites like Nitro:licious or Bryan Boy for critical analysis — they go to see what their lives are like and get a vague sense of what's going on in the world of clothing.
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True, journalists aren't paid for writing about companies. But it's pretty obvious which bloggers are paid to pander to brands and which bloggers are trying to present journalistically credible information. And if you want to attack bloggers for getting paid to endorse products, you should also attack print fashion magazines, since the majority of what they photograph are products made by their advertisers. Look at the fashion credits in a spread, and you'll probably be able to match the labels up with big glossy ads appearing between the articles. So bloggers paid by brands to endorse products are just continuing fashion media's long history of doing just that. Perhaps what's really ruffling feathers about bloggers commanding exorbitant fees for their endorsement (which is still less than full-page ads in Vogue for the most part) is that they present yet another threat to the prowess of titles still thriving in print much more than the web.

So if the bloggers can make that much money by endorsing brands? Good for them. Developing a following as an online personality takes years and years of persistence and hard work. While I hope they're as explicit about their endorsement deals as possible (and FCC regulations require the to disclose when they're writing about items they've been sent for free), I'd hardly seriously fault them for trying to hide it. Each issue of the monthly fashion titles doesn't start with an editor's letter that says, "Dear readers, The only product we shot this month is made by our advertisers."

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16-06-2012
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Very interesting article. I think what separates a paid blogger vs a blogger who hasn't been tapped for events and collabos such as the examples listed above is that the paid bloggers, like it or not, have an aspirational quality to their lives (or, at least, they portray it that way) and that's what draws the viewers in. Companies look out for this and they make sure they cash in.

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17-06-2012
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The thing that saddens me these days is that so many blogs are essentially only a advertisement/display for the newest clothes and products. It's not about fashion anymore, but about fashion products. Of course sometimes the styling is inspiring, but still, they just display or mix and match the newest products, which functions as an advertisement. I don't even see runway pics or moodboards, just outfit pictures and pictures of clothes they want to have. It's very consumerist and more about shopping than fashion. I don't know if the increasing collaborations with companies are the cause or effect of this, but still I wonder: where are the blogs with ideas about fashion, with an editorial quality in them?

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24-07-2012
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As everything else that is done as a hobby
what really can be expected from individuals who doing that on a part time, as a hobby ? 95% will be copy paste information, and only a very minor percentage will produce creative ideas.

In my opinion, bloggers cannot compete with professional media workers that work on full time jobs, who are well educated, and have a budget.

In the beginning of fashion blogging (around 2004) there was a feeling of underground subculture going in the blogs, with a sense of innovation.... Since then, those bloggers got some piece of the Industry cake, showing falsely other bloggers, that there are short cuts into the fashion world and harming by that the whole point of blogging- personal genuine journalism.

But what bothers me the most, is the hypocrisy of the fashion Industry. On the one hand, they know very well how to use bloggers to get some cheap PR, on the other hand, they will show their contempt at the bloggers in every occasion. So the "legitimate" journalists treated nicely because they have the power to determine who will be in the news, the buyers are treated respectfully because they actually paying the money, celebrities also get they share, but bloggers is the free army of 15 years old kids spending thousands on their way to become Rumi neely.

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26-07-2012
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Heres my two cents on the topic of bloggers - they have their own medium and can choose what they wish to publish, as well as magazines. I dont see them doing anything printed media wouldnt do. The way they do stuff and finance themselves though can be more or less intelligent, open, obvious or subtle and they can do it for various reasons (actually being passionate about the things they chose to publish do or being passionate about money they earn from it) and i think those things are key to what kind of readers they have.
And because of the availability of the medium in question (everyone can write a blog) there is obviously going to be tons of bad, bad blogs and just a few good ones (like there is a ton of bad everything else on the internets,actually everywhere...)

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26-07-2012
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I read a while ago this: "worth-reading blogs are those that are written by someone who has an obsession over something" (no matter the topic)... I think this also apply to fashion blogging. You have to be OBSESSED with fashion on a very deep and crazy way to create something innovative and different, something that others can't find on professional websites, PR people and journalist blogs, etc.

Susie Bubble started like that, with an obsession that developed and turned on her real job after a while.

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26-07-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maquillage View Post
The thing that saddens me these days is that so many blogs are essentially only a advertisement/display for the newest clothes and products. It's not about fashion anymore, but about fashion products. Of course sometimes the styling is inspiring, but still, they just display or mix and match the newest products, which functions as an advertisement. I don't even see runway pics or moodboards, just outfit pictures and pictures of clothes they want to have. It's very consumerist and more about shopping than fashion. I don't know if the increasing collaborations with companies are the cause or effect of this, but still I wonder: where are the blogs with ideas about fashion, with an editorial quality in them?
Very interesting point... I've read that a lot of fashion bloggers aren't really into runway looks in the first place. That might explain why? Of course, monetary incentives are always transparent when it comes to the blogs that just feature "must-have" items

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26-07-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunyaSchick View Post
I read a while ago this: "worth-reading blogs are those that are written by someone who has an obsession over something" (no matter the topic)... I think this also apply to fashion blogging. You have to be OBSESSED with fashion on a very deep and crazy way to create something innovative and different, something that others can't find on professional websites, PR people and journalist blogs, etc.

Susie Bubble started like that, with an obsession that developed and turned on her real job after a while.
I also think Susie Bubble is a strong personality with an interesting style whose articles payed or unpayed feel like she was interested in what she was writing about, knows what she is writing about or bothered to find out, they also feel rounded, with a concept tought trough and written with the reader in mind. I think that is important, not just being crazily obsessed with fashion and writing whatever crosses your mind like the fact that it just did is in some way very important for the people reading. That just bores me.

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03-08-2012
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Originally Posted by Chocolate_Love View Post
I think most fashion bloggers these days are just copying the stuff that is already out there, if you know what I mean. there are almost no blogs which really excite me. Most of them I find quite boring and also superficial. What I especially do not like, is that some bloggers, especially females, try to look like they were one of their most admired models.
Chocolate_Love I completely agree with what you're saying. I've been researching blogs online, in particular fashion blogs and haven't been impressed with what I've seen. A lot of outfits look the same - the girls have the same style about them, no eccentricity or creativity. Having a large bank account or a daddy who will buy you designer clothes is nothing to brag about, but it seems that it is the centre point of most blogs. I find it to be a mockery of fashion if I'm completely honest, confirming all the cruellest stereotypes of vanity and emptiness. My favourite blogs are ones where the author tells you his/her opinion - pretty much like we're doing on the 'in depth' forum or at least have sketches they've done on their own. I suppose it's all a matter of personal taste. As I've said before on here, I like blogs for giving everyone freedom of expression but unfortunately to some extent all 'fashion blogs' will be tarred with the same brush.

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03-09-2012
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I had the chance to follow the work of two famous bloggers who collaborated with the company I work for and I can tell you for sure that nobody really becomes famous just like that or only because of his/her qualities (looks, style or writing skills). Mostly what you need is contacts from inside the fashion industry, pr managers, maybe an influential boyfriend who happens to be the son of a famous entrepreneur and so on... That's how it works. The others must wait in line for their 15 minutes of online fame

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03-09-2012
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^ Were the 2 italian bloggers?
I also dont beleave in blogs becomming succesfull just like that on their own. I think theres focused hard work and cut troath marketing of all kinds behind all of the sucessfull ones.

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03-09-2012
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When I first got interested in fashion I read blogs obsessively... The Sartorialist, Garance Dore, Susie from Style Bubble, Rumi, Sea of Shoes, Tavi... you name it and I probably read it. But now I find that I rarely check out fashion blogs because they all seem the same. They are hardly unique and seem to be selling products rather then being a platform for innovation and creativity. So I suppose I've become a bit disenchanted with the world of fashion bloggers. I've come to realize that the bloggers I still follow and read aren't just writing about fashion but about other topics as well. Which is why for me, I have so much respect for people like Tavi (I love her online magazine Rookie) and Sasha from Liberty London Girl, because they get that it's not just about clothing. They write about other things as well. And when they do write about fashion it's in a smart way, it's not just like a list of what brands they are wearing. I have also taken to reading a few blogs which look at fashion from a more historical, sociological lens. And I have found that these blogs interest me more then scrolling through blogs with lots of pictures of girls posing and hardly any written content. Sometime's I do come across a blogger who's style speaks for itself but most of the time I have not been wowed with what I've been seeing. I find a lot of them to be really shallow and they don't seem to be embodying what I think fashion is, or rather should be, about, having substance. Great fashion has substance, it's not just fluff, and I think this idea translates to blogs as well.

I find it interesting how blogging has turned from a hobby into a career for some people. Which can be a really awesome thing in some cases. But sometimes it can also be an issue because when do you cross the line from doing this for fun and doing it for a living? Maybe some bloggers can have both of these things, but not everyone can.

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 03-09-2012 at 09:39 PM.
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03-09-2012
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I feel like that is the main problem for most people. Fashion blogs are becoming too similar. This is the main reason I don't follow any of them on their blogs,twitter or instagram. They post the same photos from the same parties, the same freebies, the same invites and so on.

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20-09-2012
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I prefer blogs to magazines more and more often now. This thought came to me when I was flicking through the magazines in the shop./ ugly and uninteresting stuff this month/ Fashion magazines are about advertisement, it slows creativity greatly. Whereas bloggers can post what they like and not worry about the frames and patterns that ads create.

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